The recent tsunami of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases beginning in Hollywood but now boiling over onto powerful men is both heart-wrenching and perplexing.
The list of men accused of sexual misconduct has grown too long to list them all. In the most recent cases:
CBS News fired veteran journalist and morning show host Charlie Rose, and PBS and Bloomberg dropped his nightly interview show on Tuesday. The actions came after the Washington Post reported that eight women said Rose “made unwanted sexual advances to them.” Rose said in a statement: “I apologize for my deeply appropriate behavior” and added that “I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate.”
Also on Tuesday, the House Ethics Committee said it is investigating Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., based on a complaint from a former employee who alleged that she was fired because she would not succumb to his “sexual advances.” Conyers, who is the longest-serving member of the House (serving since 1965) confirmed he had settled a wrongful termination complaint from 2015, but denied firing the woman for refusing to have sex with him.
In the middle of the noise from these and many other cases of alleged sexual misconduct, it feels as though there are the victims and then there is everyone else seeking to use them to settle old scores.
It is unclear how many people really want to get to truth and justice. Here is a hint: it is not the people on TV feigning outrage; it is not the celebrity lawyers; it is not the politicians from either party taking swipes at the opposition.
I am not sure what I find the most disgusting – the men who preyed on weak and powerless women, or the men and women in Washington hoping to score political points and riding the tide to better name ID. Whose hearts are pure in this tragedy?
The American public is watching the freak show of their leaders, media elite and entertainers being unmasked as licentious pigs. We are left wondering, however, what is true?
In my 20s, I was the victim of a physical assault and attempted rape by a complete stranger on a Virginia running trail, so I am prone to believe the accuser. In fact, we are told that we must always believe every woman. Unfortunately, the Duke Lacrosse case, the Rolling Stone saga, and Lena Dunham’s book stole our innocence.
Potiphar’s wife in the Bible and books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” reminds us that once we were allowed to ask questions about motives, especially involving race or even politics. The pursuit of truth sometimes requires hard questions.
Much of the public is so discouraged that they throw up their hands in distrust and disillusionment. However, it would be wrong to discredit the #MeToo movement based on the few.
Estimates vary, but in a 2010 study, the Centers for Disease Control asserted that nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been victims of attempted or completed rape.
Perhaps this is like turning on the light in filth and watching the cockroaches scatter. The brightness of truth is painful but necessary to clean up the decay.
At a high level, this is indicative of the condition of the human heart. Our culture refuses to make judgments about right and wrong until it becomes so noxious that we can no longer stand the stench.
We didn’t love our neighbor enough to get in the middle of messy battles at the office or elsewhere. Hollywood certainly didn’t hide what has been described as the revolting behavior of Harvey Weinstein and others. People say now they knew he harassed young actresses, but didn’t speak up.
What else are we ignoring? When are the ivory towers of academia going to come clean about sexually exploitive professors? It will get worse before it gets better.
So where do we go from here? I honestly do not know. But I do know this: We must have the guts to seek truth. We must ask questions and pursue justice no matter where it leads. It must mean discrediting false accusers or even that our favorite entertainer, media professional, professor or politician faces criminal charges. Are we strong enough to do that or do we just want to score points against our enemies?
Micah 6:8 tells us: “Oh man, what is good: what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and walk humbly with your God.”
I pray we are up to the task. Are we sick enough of the rottenness to say let justice be done?